Skip to main content

Tavon Austin a Low-Risk Speed Option to Help Bears

Free Agent Frenzy 2020: Cowboys free agent Tavon Austin hasn't put up big numbers the past three seasons but still seems to have the speed and is seeking opportunity

If the Bears wanted to go low risk in the need they have for speed at wide receiver, there is a player available who actually fits the description of the wide receiver he'd be replacing.

When they cut Taylor Gabriel following concussion concerns and for cap reasons, it left a big hole in their passing game for a speed receiver. It seems a likely position they'd address in the draft.

Yet, drafting players and depending on them to contribute immediately can be risky, especially at receiver. The Bears have proof of this in Anthony Miller, their 2018 second-rounder who started slow and then finally came on strong late last year.

A player likely to be available in free agency to the Bears is now a little older but hasn't suffered any severe knee injuries and retains much of his speed is Dallas Cowboys receiver Tavon Austin.

Austin could be a relative bargain because he's been in Dallas for two seasons on what basically was a prove-it deal. He received only $1.75 million last year after being traded by the Rams to Dallas for a sixth-round pick, and the Cowboys definitely got little from him. Austin had a groin tear and a concussion the last two years, but never has suffered the type of severe knee damage which could diminish his speed.

Austin had that 4.34-second combine speed in the 40 in 2013 and turns 30 in a few days. He's about the same size as Gabriel, about 5-foot-8, 180 pounds.

Austin has made just 34 total receptions in the past three seasons, but in the past two seasons he never seemed to fit what Dallas was trying to do on offense.

However, he had averaged over 45 catches a season in his first four years with the Rams.

Read More

It's possible the Bears could get a shot in the draft at some of the speed receivers available, but with so many needs besides this they may not want to risk it until those players are gone.

General manager Ryan Pace was vague about the need for speed at receiver but does see it as a position where plenty of talent exists in the draft.

"That's a strength of this draft for sure," Pace said.

The problem is the speed may not last long.

Even if it does, there are options more established who are available at a low price, like Austin.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven